By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – It’s been quite a week for Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy.
Three days ago on New Year’s Eve, Lovejoy and his wife Avery had their first child, a daughter named Lila. That night Lovejoy made the defensive play of the game in a 6-3 Ducks victory over the Sharks at Honda Center.
Tonight, Lovejoy made a rare contribution on the scoresheet, scoring two goals near the end of the first period (his second and third of the year) to help the Ducks to a 5-2 rout of the visiting Oilers in front of a sellout crowd at Honda Center.
"Great feeling, great win," said Lovejoy, who pointed out it was the first game his wife and daughter got to watch. "It’s been an awesome couple of days, and I would love to keep it going. It was pretty special."
It was the second straight game with five or more goals for Anaheim, and the 12th overall this season. The win continued a run of Honda Center dominance for Anaheim, which at 16-0-2 remains the only team in the NHL yet to lose in regulation at home.
One of the few black marks on the night for the Ducks was their power play, which was 0 for 8 on the night and is now 1 for the last 30. Yet it hardly mattered as Anaheim won for the 12th time in the last 13 games.
Edmonton took the lead just 35 seconds into the game, as Boyd Gordon was tripped by Sami Vatanen in front of the net just before throwing the puck into the crease, where it hit goalie Jonas Hiller’s stick and got behind him.
But Anaheim made up for that miscue just 11 seconds afterward, as Kyle Palmieri pushed from the right wing circle to the front of the net, where he backhanded the puck past former Ducks goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
Edmonton went back in front a little more than halfway through the period, as former No. 1 pick Nail Yakupov cut to the front of the net and followed his own rebound to make it 2-1.
But the Ducks struck back for four unanswered, two of which off Lovejoy's stick. His first came with just under three minutes in the first, a one-timer off a Saku Koivu feed that sailed past an Andrew Cogliano screen before beating Bryzgalov.
The second came in similar fashion with just 4.4 seconds left in the frame, a one-timer from close to the same spot that darted past a surprised Bryzgalov inside the left post.
"It was awesome to get one," Lovejoy said with a laugh. "To get a second very similar pass, it has to be perfectly in my wheelhouse. And both [Koivu] and Cam Fowler were able to find it. It’s a very small sweet spot. I was lucky it went in."
Lovejoy’s goals were within a 2:43 span, the fastest two goals by a Ducks defenseman in franchise history. In addition, Lovejoy tied the franchise record for most goals scored in a single period by an Anaheim defenseman (accomplished six times previously).
Neither team scored again until under a minute left in the second, as Nick Bonino fed the puck in the slot from behind the net, which trickled to Tim Jackman, who backhanded it home. It was the first goal in a Ducks sweater for Jackman, who came to Anaheim in a trade with Calgary on November 21.
The Ducks got their fifth of the game a little more than halfway through the third, as Cogliano knocked down a Jeff Petry shot and went off and running on the breakaway, going to the forehand before sending it past Bryzgalov.
"Whenever you play a team that trades you, and at the end of the day kind of gets rid of you or doesn’t value you as much as you value yourself, it’s nice when you have a good game," said Cogliano, a former first-round draft choice of the Oilers. "I definitely don’t want to go anywhere. I love playing here. When you’re on a winning team, everything is good and everything is great. When you’re winning games and have good guys around you, and a good organization, it’s a lot of fun."
Anaheim will look to keep it going Sunday evening against the Canucks at Honda Center.
"[Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry] weren’t going as good as they normally do, and when they’re not going, you need people to pick up the slack," said head coach Bruce Boudreau. "I thought Jackman’s goal was a huge goal at the end of the second. Then you get help from everywhere. That’s why we’re a pretty good team."
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